Summary: If we believe that He came, that He died, that He rose, that He ascended, then we must believe He will come again. He said so.
Most of what I want to say today is familiar territory to most of us. But I want to serve it to you afresh today for two reasons. The first is that there may be some, or even one here, to whom this will be new; and in that case, it is important, and more than that, my duty, to present it. The second is that although we may have heard it over and over again, we need constantly to be encouraged by it; reminded of it; so that we might be more diligently looking for it.
Jesus promised His closest friends in John 14, “I will come again”. The line comes from a passage that is very familiar to the student of the Bible.
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
That is the whole promise as presented in these two verses in John, but I want to narrow our scope today to just that one phrase; “I will come again”, and think about the implications of it.
First of all, let’s ask the question, WILL HE COME?
Let’s go right down to ground level and start building from there. Let’s not take anything for granted. Will Jesus really come back? Are we believing a fairy tale? Or is the thing we’re looking and waiting for a real event that will be one of the most astounding events in the history of the world?
We must answer this question first, or to go on would be a waste of time. Either we believe the whole thing, or we deny the whole thing. We cannot take some and leave the rest.
So we list the things we’ve already put our trust in, or if we haven‘t put our trust in them, have at least heard of them and will, at some point, have to decide where we stand.
**Are these things true?
- Did He come and dwell among us?
- Did He go to the cross and die?
- Did He rise bodily from the grave?
- Did He ascend to heaven from the Mount?
If our answer to those four questions is ‘yes, I believe that’, then we have to believe He will come again. As I said, to disbelieve any part is to disbelieve the whole. To accept any part as true, is to accept all.
So let’s look at the proofs. And by the way, either you accept the Bible as the inspired, infallible, inerrant, immutable Word of the Living God, or you don’t believe it at all. If you do not accept it as such then there is no basis for discussion here. If you do, then there can be no arguing the individual claims of the scriptures, concerning God and His Christ. So we will move on, under the assumption that everyone here believes the Bible to be true.
The first proof offered then, is the simple fact that He said, “I will come again”. This is God in the flesh. This is the Son of God, in whom all the fulness of deity dwells. Therefore all of the attributes of deity are fully evident in Him.
He cannot lie. He will not say one thing and do another. Everything He has said to them in over three years of ministry has been true. He has never been wrong, He has never seemed unsure or insecure in His claims, and now He is telling them, “I will come again”.
Notice that He did not say, “I will call you to myself”. He did not say, “I will send for you“, not, “you’ll come to Me when you die“, but “I will come again”
Now this is not to deny that we will go to Him if we pass away before His coming. The scripture gives us plenty of proof of the fact that when the Christian leaves this world he is immediately in the next.
On the cross He promised the repentant thief, “...today you will be with Me in Paradise”. In Acts 7:59, at his stoning, the righteous Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit”. In II Corinthians 5:8 Paul assures us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, and in Philippians 1:23 the Apostle alludes to this truth that when the spirit leaves this body it is with Jesus, when he says he has the desire to “...depart and be with Christ...”
But that is not the assurance Jesus was giving His disciples in John 14. Although they were still in their ignorance and not understanding the terrors they would face in just a few hours, He knew full well what was about to take place. And He was giving them the news that should have been the most encouraging they could have had; the greatest assurance they could have received.